James Belich's 1986 book The New Zealand wars and the Victorian interpretation of racial conflict was a radical new look at the New Zealand wars. Belich presented the Māori as fine strategists who came very close to winning several campaigns. Subsequently his research was presented in a television series, The New Zealand wars. In the first episode Belich argued that the battle of Ruapekapeka was not a glorious victory for the British, but a strategic defeat – and that the peace that followed the northern war gave Hōne Heke Pōkai and his followers much of what they had fought for.
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